The treatment meted out to our VIP jailbirds could make our prisons top tourist spots.Updated: Jul 03, 2011 22:21 IST
Knowing the irrepressible Mani Shankar Aiyar as we do, his pronouncements usually take the cake, the plate and the trimmings. But, when he says that he will not be popping around to Tihar jail with a chocolate cake for sacked Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi, our thoughts turn to which of them is the smarter cookie. Yes, Mani was prophetic in his assessment of the way the Games were shaping up, but Kalmadi, accused of playing an altogether different set of games, may not need the chocolate cake after all, even if Mani were to oblige.
From what we gather, the portly Kalmadi is rattling around the jail enjoying tea and a variety of snacks with his jailors. But then, this pales into comparison with the manner in which many VIPs are treated in jail. While we taxpayers cough up so that they can be guests of the State, the accused are busy getting themselves a few comforts to while away their time. So Kanimozhi gets special privileges on account of being a woman and others secure them by virtue of ill-health, these afflictions coming on them as soon as they discern a jail term. In Bangalore, convicted felons are let out in the evenings for a jolly and a jaunt, so that they can bring in goodies which they can sell in jail. At this rate, Tihar and other jails which lodge VIPs can market themselves as havens of rest and recreation.
Those of us who are not likely to get on the wrong side of the law because we are cowardly custards could then get a feel of the high life in the clink. In fact, we could even include a spot the VIP tour for those so inclined. For Mr Aiyar who conducted a valiant crusade to bring some accountability into the conduct of the Games in their inception, the fact that Kalmadi has been able to have his cake and eat it too must leave a bitter taste in his mouth.